“Family psychopathology is the major reason behind the mental health problems found in adolescents,” observes a report published at the sixth anniversary celebrations of Unarvu, a school-based adolescent mental health programme of the Thiruvananthapuram District Panchayat, on Thursday.
The report, presented by Dr S Jayapraksh, who is working in association with the project, points out conduct disorder as the most common psychological problem in school-going adolescents. Anxiety disorders come second in order, followed by depression, adjustment disorders, exam phobia, and schizophrenia.
As many as 721 students - 241 girls and 480 boys - referred from schools underwent counselling as part of the programme. Among them, 54 students were found using either alcohol or drugs.
The project conducts awareness programmes for one teacher each from all the government and aided schools in the district. It functions through a number of selected teachers trained by the Unarvu trainers. They act as the primary counsellors in each school. One-day camps are conducted for the headmasters and principals also. Group counselling and parent counselling programmes are also conducted in schools as part of the programme.
A Child and Adolescent Development Centre named ‘Unarvu Clinic’ was also launched as part of the project to deal with serious mental health issues that cannot be solved with only counselling. The clinic functions every Tuesday from 2 pm at the centre.
The celebrations were inaugurated by District Panchayat president R K Ansajitha Russell. The inauguration of the website and the distribution of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) equipment to 140 schools in the district were also conducted at the event held at the District Panchayat Conference hall here.
Laptops for 110 schools and LCD projectors and printers for 30 schools in the district were distributed at the function.